Examining the Role of Liaison Librarians as Research Collaboration Partners: A Mixed-Methods Multiple-Case Study
Date of Award
Quantitative Research Methods
Nicholas Cutforth, Ph.D.
Krystyna Matusiak, Ph.D.
Liaison librarians, Mixed methods, Research collaboration
This sequential, mixed-methods study explored the professional relationship-building experiences of academic liaison librarians and university professors with a focus on research collaborations. A survey was administered and Chi-square and Spearman's rho analyses conducted on 2,650 responses to identify associations between organizational and individual factors and liaisons' work, perceptions of relationship-building experiences, and confidence in supporting faculty research. Following the survey, seven liaison-faculty pairs were identified and interviewed, and case study analysis utilized to explore specific liaison-faculty research collaboration relationships.
The study explored factors associated with liaisons' work, perceptions of faculty relationship-building, and confidence in supporting faculty research. The most salient factors were discipline focus of liaisons' supported areas, percentage of liaisons' position devoted to liaison responsibilities, and holding an additional post-graduate degree. Respondents who supported STEM areas expressed more negative faculty relationship-building experiences and less confidence in their ability to support faculty research. Liaisons with a smaller percentage of their position devoted to liaison work were less likely to provide research support or engage in outreach, were more likely to agree with negative relationship-building statements and more likely to disagree with positive relationship-building statements, and expressed less confidence in their ability to support faculty research activities. Finally, those who held an additional post-graduate degree more often than expected agreed with positive-relationship building statements and expressed more confidence in their ability to support faculty research.
While the seven case studies detailed the diverse nature of liaison-faculty research collaboration relationships, within the cases 21 sub-themes were identified and classified into four categories: collaborator traits, collaborator descriptors, feelings/emotions, and potential barriers/facilitators. Common collaborator traits included different areas of expertise and different perspectives. Collaborators were often described as equals, partners, or friends. Emotions/feelings expressed about their relationships included fun, comfort, and trust and respect. Potential barriers to collaborative relationship development included differences in institutional status and liaisons' workload, while institutional support and liaison proactivity were identified as facilitators.
This study indicates that liaisons' workload, institutional status, and visibility impact liaisons' ability to develop collaborative research relationships with faculty. To address these areas, it is suggested that liaisons make faculty aware of their availability to collaborate, create faculty advocates to support liaison and library efforts, and be proactive and visible in their efforts to interact with faculty. Based on these findings, suggestions of areas for future research are provided.
Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.
Bright, Kawanna Michelle, "Examining the Role of Liaison Librarians as Research Collaboration Partners: A Mixed-Methods Multiple-Case Study" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1537.
Received from ProQuest
Kawanna Michelle Bright